By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Hal Neilson of Oxford, the FBI agent acquitted of federal charges in 2010, has sued former U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee.
Neilson, who recently retired from the agency, claims Greenlee was out to get him and wrongly ruined his career and his health.
In November 2010, a federal jury acquitted Neilson of two charges that he lied about his financial interests in the Oxford FBI building, where he worked.
U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock declared a mistrial on three charges the jury could not agree on, and days later special federal prosecutors from Louisiana dropped them, saying they didn’t believe they could get a conviction.
In the new Lafayette County civil lawsuit, Neilson claims that Greenlee, unnamed others and “XYZ Corporation” conspired to destroy Neilson because Neilson reported the then-U.S. attorney to the Department of Justice about what Neilson believed was abuse of power.
The lawsuit rehashes well-known bad blood between the two, starting in 2001 when Neilson claimed he learned Greenlee and staff were misusing grand jury power to gain private information about the region’s residents with Middle Eastern surnames.
Greenlee also is accused of ordering staff to gather negative information about Neilson and of prosecuting Neilson’s friend Dino Grisanti over a vehicle financing fraud, despite Grisanti’s having repaid the money and the bank’s not wanting to pursue charges.
Greenlee, who works in private law practice, did not respond to a Daily Journal request for comment.
Eventually, Neilson’s lawsuit states, Greenlee pushed through conflict-of-interest charges about Neilson’s business dealings, which brought Neilson into court as a defendant. He seeks actual, compensatory and punitive damages.
A parallel lawsuit filed by Neilson against two authors of a book about the Scruggs judicial bribery case is expected in court soon for a hearing to get it back on track.
Meanwhile, Neilson’s attorney Christi R. McCoy said he will open a private law practice with special emphasis on representing law enforcement officers who insist they have been wrongly accused.